21 Feb 2011

Travel warnings for Mid-East and North Africa

7:46 am on 21 February 2011

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has upgraded its travel warning for Libya to high risk from "some risk".

There are 270 New Zealanders registered as being in Middle East and North African countries where anti-government demonstrations are taking place.

Twenty-six are in Libya but the ministry cannot confirm if any of them are in Benghazi, where witnesses have reported troops opening fire with machine-guns and large-calibre weapons on anti-government protesters.

The ministry is advising against all non-essential travel to Libya and Bahrain.

Bahrain, where 186 New Zealanders are registered, has also been deemed high risk.

The ministry says the protests have made the security situation unpredictable and New Zealanders should avoid all tourist and other non-essential travel to the country. It is watching the situation there closely.

About 45 New Zealanders are registered in Jordan, three in Tunisia and nine in Yemen.

The ministry says none of those people have reported as being injured or caught up in the turmoil.